Environmental Hazards

You need to understand your physiology. How environments affect your body. From heat to cold, wind to rain etc. The forces of nature apply. You adjust and modify plans based on the weather.

Be aware and have the knowledge to manage yourself and body. Be objective and realistic toward the environment. Do not be afraid of it. Crossing a road can be dangerous but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.


Core body temperature 37c / 98.6f. Too much heat loss with lead to hypothermia. Our core system is the brain, head and chest area. When the body gets too cold it will reduce blood flow to your hands, feet and other extremities.

Heat can be lost from the body by:

  • Convection
  • Conduction
  • Evaporation
  • Radiation
  • Respiration



Also known as widow makers, sudden limb-drop, or summer drop. This is when branches suddenly fall from trees with the potential to hit you on the head and cause some serious damage.

Trees that you should watch out for, oaks, poplars, willows, elms, chestnut, beech, ash, eucalyptus, pines, cedars, planes, and figs.

Always check your surroundings before setting up camp. Avoid camping or spending time under large deciduous trees in summer. 

Never camp under large beech trees.

Always look up for dead branches, dead crowns, or hung-up trees. Look at the ground for evidence of heave or root movement. Look for sick trees or weakened by infection. Look for obvious signs such as cracks or movement.

Be extra careful in windy conditions, especially when combined with prolonged rain or saturated ground.


Water can be dangerous in many ways. Such as cold and conductive, currents and hidden currents. Depth. Entanglement. Foot entrapment and getting out of the water itself.

Wild water is not like your local swimming pool. It won’t be warm and clear. Even in in summer, open water can be cold. Your body will react to the cold water. It will most likely take your breath away. Water conducts heat 25x faster than air.

White water means fast flowing water and dangerous currents. You can get underwater currents too. Don’t be deceived, just because there isn’t white water. 

Depth of water is hard to judge. Never jump into a body unless you are 110% certain it is deep enough.

Entanglement with debris, weeds, reeds etc in shallow or deep water is another hazard. Getting tangled up or getting swept into debris can be deadly. You can easily get snagged on clothing or straps from bags etc.

If you get swept off your feet, lie on your back with your feet up. This will protect you from debris and rocks. Try to adjust your body so you travel feet first down the current flow. Look for an area of water with no flow, this is your best chance of climbing out.

Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


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